Sunday, December 23, 2007


“What will you like to have for Christmas that you know you cannot really have?” Robert, my friend asked.
“Hmm” I thought quietly to myself before replying “A notebook”
“That is easy, you can buy one for yourself” He said.
“Well, that will mean using up a chunk of my savings. Thanks, but no thanks. And you? What will you like to have for Christmas that you know you cannot have?” I asked him.
“To feed all the poor children in Africa ” he replied.
My self-centered wish to buy a new note book and Robert’s generous wish to feed all the poor children in Africa were items on our Christmas wishlist last year. Even though we knew we could not achieve them, we let them on the list anyway. After all, making a Christmas wish is sometimes about asking for the impossible to be made possible. Not everyone believes in Christmas wish, but yet we all make it every year, simply by telling someone, “I wish you a merry Christmas!”
Christmas is a day when some Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Christ- God’s gift of love to the world. However, the day means different things to different people due to our diverse idiosyncrasies. For some, it is a time to party into the New Year, for others, it is a time to re-unite with family and friends or a time to reflect on life’s issues with an attitude of gratitude to God.
Amidst all the celebration, there are those who would not be celebrating Christmas this year due to poverty. The 25th of December to them will be another day of hunger and despair. Of course, this can change if they make it up on someone’s list this year.
What is on your Christmas list? Does it begin and end with you? Do something different this season by remembering those who are in a lesser position than you. Don’t limit your wish list to things you cannot have. Send cards or gifts to those who’d least expect, say a prayer for the poor and forgotten, buy yourself something expensive and extend the love to others too, spend Christmas with family and friends if you never have! Don’t waste the season worrying about what you cannot have; it will only deter the fun! Be open for God to use you as someone’s answered prayer and see how happier this Christmas will be for you. I’m wishing you and yours a joyous Christmas, may the celebration not end with Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Drawing on the latest scientific studies of adolescents, Lawrence Steinberg, a professor of psychology at Temple University , offers this advice for the parents of teens:

What you do matters: Many parents mistakenly believe that by the time children have become teenagers, there is nothing more a parent can do. Wrong. Studies clearly show that good parenting continues to help teenagers develop in healthy ways, stay out of trouble and do well in school.

You can’t be too loving: Don’t hold back when it comes to pouring on the praise and showing physical affection. There is no evidence that adolescents are harmed by having parents who are unabashedly loving- as long as you don’t embarrass them in front of their friends.

Stay involved: Many parents who were actively involved in their child’s life during the early years withdraw when their child becomes a teenager. This is a mistake. It is just as important for you to be involved now- maybe even more so. Participate in school programs. Get to know your child’s friends. Spend time together.

Adapt your parenting: Many parenting strategies that work at one age stop working at the next stage of development. As children get older for example, their ability to reason improves dramatically, and they will challenge you if what you are asking doesn’t make sense.

Set the limit: the most important thing children need from their parents is love, but a close second is structure. Even teenagers need rules and limits. Be firm but fair. Relax your rules bit by bit as your child demonstrates maturity. If he or she can’t handle the freedom, tighten the reins and try again in a few months.

Foster Independence: Many parents erroneously equate their teenagers drive for independence with rebelliousness, disobedience or disrespect. It’s healthy for adolescent to push for autonomy. Give your children the psychological space they need to learn to be self-reliant and resist the temptation to micromanage.

Explain your decisions: Good parenting has expectations, but in order for your teenager to live up to them, your rules and decisions have to be clear and appropriate. As your child becomes more adapt at reasoning, it is no longer good enough to say “Because I said so”.

Culled from Time, July 7 2004 edition.

Dis Generation!

Have you ever wondered what life was like living in the Stone Age when man lived in caves? Or the Iron Age which was the period in history that led to the agrarian revolution, when man depended a lot on agriculture? Everyone tilled the ground for survival in those days until the development of sophisticated machinery brought about a shift from agriculture to industrialization. The procession of one generation to another brought about a profound change which was perhaps ignited by the desire of a better and easier life. Well, that was for that generation.

I used to complain that this generation has been the most disadvantaged period young people ever tried to live in. An average youth of today lives in quiet desperation; he is increasingly faced with the fear of the future as a result of the short comings of the present that is navigated by economic depression, moral decadence, loss of family values etc.

This information age where technology plays a huge role in making life easy and keep us in the know also indirectly agitate us daily. The invention of new gadgets is making young people materialistic as they clamor for “more”. The cause of increase in youth crime is attributed to the violence they watch on television. Easy access to information on the internet is turning us into a copy and paste generation!

However, it is quite daunty to tell if the difficulties that beset this generation are any worse than those of older generation or is it permissible to believe they passed them all to us? Why do people keep saying the older generation has failed us? It does not matter who we blame, it is this generation that still has to bear the brunt. We all need to take the responsibility to change things for the better by doing the right things in the right way for posterity.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I surrender!

show me a way, a channel,
a route,
through which I could reachout to this hurting world
and wipe out that tears rolling down her cheeks
I know, I know
I must tread only on that part I know well
else I cramp my style with stinking gibberish
My wallet is flat tonight
please don't count on that
Still this urge to belong
an undiluted desire to serve
yearns so loudly I can hold back no more
I surrender
in total submission my heart cry
"use me lover of my soul"
to be a helping hand in my society
to learn to give without asking for anything in return
to be able to influence others into aiming for the best
never to try playing god over my peers
to you my king I obediently surrender
(c)Jennifer Ehidiamen

Going into unfamiliar territory will not destroy your old, comfortable world. Rather, it will expand your world, your vision, your knowledge and your possibilities. The next time you come across a road that you've never traveled -- whether it is an idea, a person, a belief system, or an actual road -- take a side trip and make your world a bigger, more interesting place.

THE BEST IS YET TO COME by God's grace!

Pictures speak 5000 words.....

Dreams and Schemes...

When I was a young girl (now a young lady), I had an overwhelming feeling of the need to do something to make the world a better place. I recently realized that I am not the only person who grew up with such an unusual sense of responsibility neither am I going to be the last.
Everyday around the world, millions of young people go to bed with problems and wake up only to find them still unsolved. However, youths like Jessica Remington, USA; Dayo Israel, Nigeria; Craig Kielburger, Canada, to mention but a few take action through their youth oriented organizations to bring about profound change (not without challenges).
I still meet and hear about other young people full of ideas on how they want to cause a positive turn around on issues they are most passionate about. A colleague intrigued me when he said one day “I cannot solve all the problems in the world but one way I try to solve them is to make sure I am not a problem in and to the world”. I believe that sometimes, the change we really need to affect the world must start with us. Like Gandhi well stated “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. The numerous problems we have in our society will stop duplicating in other forms when we begin to take personal responsibility of putting ourselves in order and do things right.
A practical example is the corruption that poses as one of the major issues bugging our society today. In fact, it is one of the top hindrances of Nigeria's progress. We are quick to blame our government every time the issues is raised, closing our eyes deliberately (or not) against our own flaws. By this, I refer to the students who bribe Lecturers to award marks they never worked for; Parents who bribe off PHCN officials instead of paying their bills; Drivers who drive recklessly without license and police who take bribe from them instead of apprehending them etc.
If our society must change, the change must start with us as individuals. The new strategy I recommend for affecting significant change is to dream big dreams in small ways... a change move faster if we take personal responsibility to live the change and influence others positively to do same. For instance, if you are bugged about the increasing rate of unemployment in Nigeria, use your resources to create job opportunities or advocate for youths to build entrepreneurial skills.
Oprah Winfrey said “A passion should be as natural as breathing”. If your passion for change is as natural as breathing, then be the change you want to see in the world, be excited about living positively

Parent abuse revisited!

Jen: You don't train children you train seals, dolphins and/or Shamu. Apparently you are not living the life of an abused parent; I am, by a 13 year old boy, physically, verbally and emotionally. Why does he hit me do you ask, usually because I tell him to get off the play station or I tell him to get off the computer, believe it or not as simple as that. I have not failed to live up to my responsibility and it has nothing to do with maintaining a good parent-child relationship. It has to do with being a bully and trying to control someone. Parents have nothing to protect themselves and there are no laws for parents to stop their children from abusing them.- Blondie posted on this blog.

The re-visit:

The campaign is set higher. More voices are raised against child abuse. A very important issue organisations like UNICEF hold close to heart. Although so much is being said and done about child abuse, no one dare claim that the issue is overflogged because obviously our society is yet to understand that no child deserves to be abused.How about Parent abuse? Silence. Nobody is talking about parent abuse. Does it really exist? In everyone's lifetime (maybe not everyone?), there have been one or two occassions when we concoiusly or unconciously abuse our parents. Example: when we disrespect our parents or delibrately disobey instructions they give us, this is parent abuse! There are cases where children insult and talk back rudely to their parents. Even worse, older children fight or physically maltreat their parents. Also, expecting parents to always buy the best gifts for us during our birthdays, christmas etc. and never returning such gestures is equal to parent abuse!

Parents who fail to live up to their responsibility to train their children well and maintain a good parent-child relationship risk being abuse in future. Therefore, it is crucial that the 21st century parents rise above the norms, put their feet down and not spare the rod. Parents do not have to get violent or brutal when treating a child who they think is a rebel. I am not a parent yet, but I have a mother with whom I am in good terms with, do not get me wrong, we still have mother-daughter disagreement every now and then but a manageable one! Perhaps, this can be attributed to the fact that when I was growing up as a kid, the rod was not spared.

Blondie is right, so many parents are being abused by their children not because they fail to leave up to their responsibility but perhaps because the relationship they have with their children has been compromised in more ways than one. There are no laws to protect parents from being abused by their children and I doubt if there will be any soon, thus parents need to revisit the kind of relationship they have with their children and mend any fallout. Parents should train-up their children in the way of the Lord and the lines will fall into pleasant places!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A HIV-Free Population!

Is it really possible? Can we have the emergence of a generation that has less of HIV infected people? For this year’s world AIDS day, I did not want to cramp myself in another long seminar with boring speeches (that sometimes leaves me very depress). So I decided to carryout a public opinion poll to find out what most youths think about the possibility of having a HIV-free population.

Majority of those interviewed affirmed that a HIV-free population is possible. They however directed their concern to the need for more dissemination of HIV related information to empower people to protect themselves from being infected. They also emphasized on the need for behavioral change towards the people living with HIV/AIDS. Indeed, if they are given the needed care and support, these people would not want to keep spreading the virus.

Meanwhile, contrary to these views, others who did not believe that a HIV-free population is possible insisted that a 100% HIV-free population is not possible because the youths who are the most vulnerable group do not adhere to the counsel of adults who warn them against exhibiting risky behavior that exposes them to HIV infection.

Information gives the power to be transformed. We all need the right information to keep us abreast on the current trend of HIV/AIDS. For instance, do you know that between 1.7 million and 4.2 million Nigerians are HIV positive and about 1.3 million children have been orphaned by AIDS? Despite the alarming statistics, I personally believe that a HIV-free population is possible if we all play our role to ensure it!

The dream of a HIV-free population in Nigeria begins with you and me. We must all take personal responsibility to know our HIV status, protect ourselves from being infected and stop the stigma against those living with HIV. Afterall, stigma and discrimination is said to be the most significant barrier to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment activities.